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OOH handover warning

Primary care organisations must ensure new out-of-hours providers make proper arrangements with practices to cover the handover period before GPs start daytime surgery, according to new guidance.

The advice from the Department of Health, issued with its model contract for PCOs and out-of-hours pro-viders, warned 'patients' urgent needs' could suffer during the handover period.

It cited an example where a patient called the out-of-hours service at 7am and needed to be seen by a GP in two hours.

Out-of-hours providers must have a mechanism to tell GPs the patient is coming and has to be seen as the practice opens to avoid potential problems with care, it said.

'It is important not only that the contract defines the extent of providers' responsibility, but also that this is understood by GP practices,' the guidance stated.

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